• Creating a low maintenance garden

    15th June 2014Northern CorrespondentStephanie Donaldson

    A garden for someone who doesn't like to garden?

    A garden for someone who doesn’t like to garden?

    When it comes to creating a relaxing outdoor space, it is easy to get carried away with elaborate designs. For those without the spare time or money to devote to their garden, read on for tips on how to achieve the perfect space outdoors without hours of intensive labour.

    Bring it down to size

    Although everyone likes to have a large outdoor space, it can be somewhat time consuming to keep it in check. If you find yourself struggling to manage, alter the layout of your garden so it is easier to maintain. This can be done by breaking your garden down into small sections which can be navigated via small pathways in between covered with paving stones or pebbles. This will allow you to wind your way through the garden to tend to plants without having to watch where you put your feet.

    Another way to keep your gardening efforts to a minimum is to start a group project. Whether you choose to work on an allotment or care for a vulnerable neighbour’s garden, with lots of people involved tasks can be delegated to different parties, resulting in a much more low maintenance project. Alternatively consider planting a container garden which can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Containers require less watering and produce less weeds.

    Select hardy plants and establish a routine

    Choosing hardy perennial plants is a great way to reduce your workload and maintain the look of your garden no matter what the season. Plant a good mix of spring and summer bulbs along with evergreen ground covers which only need mowing once or twice a year. You can also make caring for your garden less strenuous by weeding little and often. If you bed your plants using hay, straw or even newspaper this will prevent weeds taking a hold of your plants, preventing the well-known jungle effect.

    Keep predators at bay

    Tackling garden pests can be tricky but as with many things, prevention is usually better than cure. Whilst bigger nuisance animals like rabbits and deer can be dissuaded by securing a chicken fence around vulnerable plants, slugs, snails and aphids usually require gardeners to use more concentrated methods of defence.

    For green gardeners disinclined to use pesticides, there are some natural alternatives available. Herbs such as peppermint, plants like garlic, marigoldflowers and even some natural oils can be extremely effective at repelling unwanted visitors.